If you have just graduated high school, or are going to in the future, you are probably thinking about getting your first job. If you listen to the news around you or other “grown ups” who listen to too much news, you probably think that it is really hard to find a job and even if you do, you won’t be making much so what is the point? It is understandable that you feel this way, if you do, because we have been told for a long time that it is nearly impossible to get a job without experience or a degree, and to top it off, many of the older generation will lump everyone from a certain age group together and say that “none of you have any work ethic.” All of this can be very discouraging, especially if you don’t know where to start.
First, let me tell you, there are jobs out there. If you have no experience in doing ANYTHING, then you will have to remind yourself that you need to start at the very bottom and work your way up. There is nothing wrong with that. Second, although the current minimum wage is substandard, working for $7.25 is better than working for $0. Even if your paychecks are only $100 a week, at least that is $100 a week more than you had at before, and you are gaining experience to move up and make more money. Third, if you have goals, such as: buying a car, saving for college, or getting your own apartment, you will need to start saving money and ANY money saved is something.
WHERE TO BEGIN
- Learn to fill out an application: At this stage, you will not need a resume, after all you have nothing of value to put on it yet, so a paper (or online) application is necessary. When filling out your application, make sure you fill in every box that is applicable to you, spell everything correctly, and make sure all the information on it is correct. Don’t guess your social security number or your high school’s address. Look it up and fill it out. This will show your future employer that you are thorough and can follow directions. This application is a reflection of who you are and what kind of employee you will be. If you fill out a paper application in a sparkly purple pen full of misspellings and inaccurate information, how is an employer supposed to take you seriously? Employers will glance over your application pretty quickly and compare you to other candidates, so put your best foot forward and make a good first impression.
- Looking online for jobs: There are a lot of job searching websites out there, but those in your area may only use a handful of sites to look for employees. Our area uses Indeed, but I have also seen job listings on Facebook. If you are using a job search website, make sure to fill out the applications thoroughly, as I stated above so that you can automatically apply to jobs as you see them. Some of the jobs you find through a search engine may redirect you to their website to fill out another application or even ask you to go apply in person. Make sure you read the job description thoroughly and that you qualify, and then follow their directions. Remember, this will show that you could be a good employee. Another way to find a job online is to go straight to a company’s website. Most major retailers and corporations have a link on their website to apply for a job, whether they are currently hiring or not. When an opening occurs, they will contact you if they are interested. This could mean that it takes several weeks or months before you actually get a job.
- Looking in person for jobs: This can be hard, but get yourself dressed business casual and start “pounding the pavement,” as it used to be called. Go through your town and look for businesses with signs that they are hiring or go in and ask the manager if they are hiring. This is your chance to begin building relationships with business owners and managers. If you are a regular customer at a small business, for example, it might be easy to strike up a conversation about job hunting, and maybe a position could be created for you. The point is, you will never know if you don’t go for it. It is harder to turn a person away than it is throwing away an application! And if someone isn’t hiring, don’t take that as a rejection, just move on to the next place. It never hurts to ask. Also, ask friends and family for help. They may be able to give your name to their manager or let you know when positions open up at their place of work.
- Open interviews: Some places, like McDonald’s, will have open interviews, meaning that they will be willing to meet with anyone who comes in at a certain day and time. Again, you are making a first impression here, so show up dressed nicely (not overly nice, but not in a band shirt and ripped jeans!) and prepared to fill out an application and answer questions. The more prepared you are, the better, so bring your references and all the important data you need to know for an application.
- Gigs and side hustles: Babysitting, delivering food or groceries, pet sitting, cleaning homes, starting a blog, getting sponsors on your Instagram…There are plenty of “odd jobs” out there that need to be done and if you are good at managing your time, you can juggle several of them at the same time. Be willing to put yourself out there and advertise your services or sign up for DoorDash or Uber, and get to work. There are so many options out there now, that creating your own way of making money is easier than you can imagine. (Make sure to read about TAXES here, you will be responsible for paying taxes if you go this route!)
WHAT KIND OF JOB SHOULD I GET?
While this is ultimately up to you, I want to talk to you about what type of job you are comfortable with and what kinds of job you think are beneath you.
Let’s say you are searching through the thousands of jobs on Indeed.com and you see plenty that make good money to start out! The first thing you need to ask yourself is what kind of job are you comfortable with. When I was starting out, I was only concerned with making the big money, so I thought I would apply for some jobs in the health field. At the job interview, I was asked if I thought I was strong enough to lift people into wheelchair and onto toilets, if I was willing to be a live in caretaker for several weeks for people who needed a lot of help. My first thought was that I shouldn’t say no, because I was desperate for a job and wanted to make money. However, after the interview, I thought about if I could actually do the job. At the time, I was maybe 100 pounds and not very strong. And I wasn’t sure I really wanted to give up so much of my time. I also knew I had no experience in being a caretaker and was a bit uncomfortable knowing how much people would be depending on me. I felt like there would be no room for error. I ended up not taking the job, not because it wasn’t a good job, it just wasn’t a good fit for me. I have no confidence in myself in the health field and I am aware of that. There are too many people who will take a job like that just for the money and not provide the proper amount of care needed. It is absolutely okay to know what you are NOT comfortable doing.
Now, let ‘s be honest. What kind of job do you believe is “beneath” you in some way? Have you thought to yourself, “I could never work fast food,” or “Walmart is for losers,” or some variation of that? Do you think that cleaning hotel rooms is for “maids” and you are somehow too good for that? Why do you think this way? It is one thing to be uncomfortable with a job because you know you couldn’t be your best at it, but what is the reason you don’t want to pump gas, mop floors, or hold stop signs at the construction site? Be honest with yourself and start to look at these jobs in another way. First, look at why you might feel that way. Do you think it would be embarrassing to serve your friends when they come into Taco Bell? Guess what, they don’t think that. If anything, they are hoping you throw in a couple extra tacos when they come in. What makes you think you are better than the people who are currently doing those jobs? There are plenty of people who make good careers out of jobs that you may be thinking are beneath you. Most of these types of jobs offer more money, not only because many people don’t want them, but because they can be demanding jobs. Long hours, odd shifts, coming home smelly or dirty…these are the jobs that pay well because they know how hard it is to find someone dependable to do these jobs. And if you are just starting out, becoming a good employee at THESE kinds of jobs will showcase your talents as you start looking for other jobs later on, or moving up in the company. Or who knows, maybe you will like it and want to keep doing it for awhile!
The point is, while not every job is for you, don’t rule out something just because it isn’t what you think you want. If you have goals in life (READ GOAL SETTING PART ONE AND PART TWO), you are going to need money, so choose to explore and be open to any job you can get. When people say “there are no jobs,” what they are truly saying is, “there are no jobs that I want to do.” This means that there are plenty of jobs out there that other people don’t want to do, so why not give them a try…at least until something else comes along.
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